Governance > Role of Civil Services in a Democracy > Importance of Civil Services
Recently, the President of India advocated the creation of an All India Judicial Service exam for the selection of judges from across the country.
The president noted that an all-India examination would provide opportunities for talented candidates from diverse backgrounds to become judges, and such a system can offer opportunities to the less-represented social groups too.
ALL INDIA JUDICIAL SERVICE (AIJS):
The AIJS is meant to induct district-level judges.
A pan-India test will be conducted more or less on the pattern of the Civil services examination and the government wants to engage the UPSC to conduct the exam.
Those who clear the examination will be appointed by high courts and different state governments as judicial officers.
AIJS is a proposed cadre of judicial officers at the lower levels (below High Courts) recruited through an open competitive national level exam.
The provision of an AIJS on the lines of IAS and IPS was mooted soon after Independence, by the 14th report of the Law Commission in 1958.
The Chief Justices' conferences in 1961, 1963 and 1965 also favoured creation of an AIJS. But the proposal was shelved after some states and HCs opposed it.
Swaran Singh Committee’s recommendation in 1976, Article 312 was modified to include the judicial services.
The Supreme Court of India also endorsed the concept in the All-India Judges Association vs. Union of India case (1993) laying down that AIJS should be set up.
A comprehensive proposal was formulated for the constitution of AIJS and the same was approved by a Committee of Secretaries in November, 2012. However, it was also shelved.
Article 312 of the Constitution provides for the establishment of All India Judicial Service (AIJS), which shall not include any post inferior to that of a District Judge.
Article 312 states that the Parliament can create new All-India services, including an all-India judicial service, if the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution declaring that it is necessary or expedient in the national interest to do so.
Such a resolution in the Rajya Sabha should be supported by two-thirds of the members present and voting.
A law providing for the creation of this service is not to be deemed as an amendment of the Constitution for the purposes of Article 368.
The constitutional provision enables creation of the AIJS at District Judge level.
Though the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 made the provision for the creation of all-India judicial service, no such law has been made so far.
Appointments of persons to be, and the posting and promotion of, district judges in any State shall be made by the Governor of the State in consultation with the State’s High Court.
A person to be appointed as district judge should have the following qualifications:
He should not already be in the service of the Central or the state government.
He should have been an advocate or a pleader for seven years.
He should be recommended by the high court for appointment.
Appointment of persons other than district judges to the judicial service are made by the governor after consultation with the State Public Service Commission and the high court.
Accordingly, various high courts (25 at present) and state service commissions hold exams to recruit judicial officers.
NEED OF AIJS:
As of December 2022, the subordinate judiciary in India was operating with 19,288 judges against a sanctioned strength of 24,631 judges?.It means more than 5,000 posts remain vacant.
Ensure timely justice:
According to the National Judicial Data Grid, 3.81 crore cases are pending in various district and taluka courts across India. More than one lakh cases are pending for over 30 years. Filling vacancies can ensure timely settlement of cases and reduce burden on the courts.
Outside India, the judge-population ratio is about 50-70 judges per million people, while in India it is 20 judges per million heads. If AIJS comes up, it would help create a strong pool of well-trained talent, which could expand the judiciary and make justice more accessible.
Meet future demands:
A 2012 report of the National Court Management Systems had projected that the number of cases being filed would reach 15 crores in 30 years, requiring 75,000 judges.
The service will address the issue of social inclusion by enabling suitable representation for marginalised and deprived sections and women in the judiciary.
For instance, in the past six years, only 3% of High Court judgeship appointments have been from the Scheduled Caste (SC) category and an even lower 1.5% from the Scheduled Tribe (ST) community.
Due to its opaqueness, Judiciary's monopoly in the appointment of judges has long been criticized for nepotism and favouritism. AIJS will ensure the induction of qualified talent selected through a proper all-India merit selection system.
Promote national integration:
The AIJS will promote national integration by appointing talented judges from diverse backgrounds and states, especially in regions with fewer resources.
Uniformity Across the Country:
AIJS would ensure uniformity in the quality of adjudication and administration of justice throughout the country by reducing variations in laws, practices, and standards at the state level.
CONCERNS OVER AIJS:
As per Article 233, recruitment to subordinate judiciary is the prerogative of the state. If the fundamental power of the states to make rules and govern the appointment of district judges is taken away, it may be against the principle of federalism.
Dilution of powers of High Court:
Creation of AIJS would lead to an erosion of control of the High Courts over the subordinate judiciary, which might affect the judiciary’s independence. Thus, it may be against the basic structure doctrine.
Experience of judges:
In the current system, it takes 15-20 years of service to become a District Judge. Appointing someone with lesser experience and largely based on their academic performance can affect the quality of justice delivered.
Vacancies below district judges:
Article 312 places a restriction that AIJS shall not include a post inferior to that of a district judge. Hence, the AIJS will not be able to fill the vacancies in the lower levels of judiciary like Munsiff courts.
Question of reservation:
Several States provide for specific reservations to various communities residing in the State. However, the same is not provided at the national level. Hence, implementation of AIJS could reduce opportunities for some marginalized sections.
Eg: UP, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh provide women with special reservations. But there are no reservations for women in the All India Services.
Eg: Karnataka recognises two additional categories of reservation within caste-based reservation — for those from a rural background and those from Kannada medium backgrounds. These cannot be expected in the AIJS.
Impact on state-level politics:
Presently, OBC/SC/STs can avail the benefit of reservation in State government jobs only in their home States.
Here, instituting an AIJS would mean that nationally dominant SC, ST and OBC groups would be at an advantage as they can compete for posts across the country, which they would otherwise be disqualified from. Thus, an AIJS will have consequences for State-level politics.
Many state governments argue that absence of knowing the local language will be a barrier for effective delivery of justice.
However, this criticism is vague given that IAS and other Central services officers are already serving in different states by overcoming the language barrier.
No progress has yet been made on the subject of AIJS. However, the government is expected to engage in a consultative process with the stakeholders to arrive at a common ground. Any proposal on the matter is likely to be presented to the higher judiciary and States to seek their views before the draft being taken to the Union Cabinet.
The AIJS is not a panacea to the problems surrounding the Indian Judicial system. But it is a long overdue process and a right step in promoting judicial reforms in the country.
Q. ‘Properly framed All India Judicial Service (AIJS) will strengthen the justice system in India’. Critically examine? (15 marks, 250 words)